6 Cell Phone Etiquette Rules for Wedding Guests

A young woman taking a photo of a bride and groom at their wedding.

Of course you’re going to bring your cell phone to an upcoming wedding—after all, you’ll need directions to the venue, you’ll want to snap a selfie with the couple, and you may need to call an Uber after the reception—but there are certain rules that you need to keep in mind for polite cell phone usage throughout the evening. Here are six cell phone etiquette rules for weddings that you should remember before you arrive.

1. Don’t Text or Use Any Apps During the Ceremony

A young girl standing in the aisle at a wedding church ceremony, watching the bride and groom.

It goes without saying that you should put away your cell phone during the wedding ceremony. Not only is it a huge distraction, but it’s also going to make you miss out on a very important event in a friend or family member’s life.

If you are bringing a young child with you to the ceremony, it’s also important that you restrict cell phone usage for them as well. Even though a YouTube video may keep them quiet throughout, you never know when headphones may fail or your little one will accidentally turn up the volume full blast, which could be extremely disruptive. If your kiddo can’t handle being in a ceremony without the use of technology, it may be best to find a sitter for the evening so that they won’t be a distraction.

2. Keep the Phone on Vibrate or Turn it off During the Ceremony

Many couples are implementing an “unplugged” ceremony, which means that they want their friends and family to turn off their phones so that they can be completely focused and in the moment. Even if the couple doesn’t request an unplugged ceremony, it’s good practice to turn your cell phone to vibrate, or just completely turn it off so that it doesn’t ding when you get a text or you disrupt the vows when an alarm goes off that you forgot about. Bottom line: respect the couple’s right to a distraction-free ceremony and keep your phone put away.

3. Don’t Take Photos or Videos During the Ceremony

A bride and groom standing in front of their clapping guests after their wedding ceremony.

Couples spend hundreds—sometimes even thousands—on a photographer or videographer. This means there is no need for you to play photographer or videographer during the ceremony. The last thing you want is for the photographer to miss a key moment in the ceremony because you wanted to step out into the aisle to snap a photo on your phone. Real talk: none of your iPhone photos will be as good quality as the hired wedding photographer’s professional equipment. It’s best to just leave this task to the professionals. (Plus, you can save your phone’s battery for the reception!)

4. Think Before You Post on Social Media Right Away

A good rule of thumb for wedding cell phone etiquette is to think before you post something to social media. If you happened to get a sneak peak of the bride’s dress before the ceremony, don’t post the photo of it on your Instagram story. And, in fact, unless the couple specifically requests it (i.e., putting up signs of their wedding hashtag throughout the ceremony), you may want to refrain from posting anything on social media at all throughout the evening. The reason? The couple may want to be the first ones to share photos of their special night, and you don’t want to take away that thrill from them.

5. Don’t be Glued to Your Phone Throughout the Evening

It’s a bad habit for all of us: we’re helplessly glued to our phones. Though it’s perfectly fine to have your cell phone out during the reception (when it’s appropriate to take photos of all the celebration), you don’t want to be glued to it throughout the night. Take the opportunity to unplug, connect with wedding guests you haven’t seen in a while, and enjoy the evening without the use of your phone. You might be surprised at how little you want to look at it anyway—someone’s got to lead the conga line, after all!

6. Share any Fun Pictures You Took of the Couple

The photographer has the upper hand on capturing moments throughout the couple’s special evening, but that doesn’t mean they will get absolutely everything. If you happen to snap a couple of cute or funny photos of the couple, the wedding decor, or the wedding party, be sure to share them with the couple. An easy way to do this is to use the hashtag they set up for Instagram, or simply text them the photos after the ceremony. They’ll be grateful to see their wedding from multiple perspectives and relive one of the best nights of their lives!

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